After 25 Years of IVF, Couple Finally Conceives

After 25 years and $200,000 of IVF, English couple finally has twins.

ByABC News
January 15, 2010, 3:52 PM

Jan. 19, 2010— -- After more than 20 years and nearly $200,000 worth of failed infertility treatments, Monique and Neil Ward of Stafford, England, have finally became the proud parents of twin boys, Britain's Press Association reports.

The Wards' 25-year struggle to become pregnant -- even though ultimately it was through the use of donor sperm and donor eggs -- raises a question many infertility specialists and aspiring parents face: Does there come a point when a couple should give up on trying to conceive?

After 15 failed attempts with various types of assisted reproductive technology since 1986, some might say the Wards were operating on blind optimism when they signed up for another $20,000 round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor eggs and sperm last spring. An earlier round with this technique had failed five months before.

But against all odds, Monique Ward finally became pregnant. On Dec. 29, at the age of 46, she gave birth to two healthy twin boys, Walker and Benjamin.

"When I held them for the first time my eyes just filled up with tears," Mrs. Ward, a nurse, told London's Telegraph. "[I] am still pinching myself that after so long trying it finally happened."

In IVF, egg and sperm (whether from the couple or from donors) are collected and combined in a laboratory dish. Once the egg is fertilized successfully, the growing embryo is transferred to the mother-to-be's uterus where it -- hopefully -- will implant and begin to grow normally.

"What this story shows is that even if you've had lots of failed attempts with more conventional treatment, an older patient can still use donor egg and conceive successfully -- sometimes you're just going to need that high tech treatment," said Dr. Richard Paulson, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology at the University of Southern California.